New Year's Resolutions are like 6am alarms. Doable? Yes. Likely to happen? Not really.
For most people, no matter how many times you’ve said “new year, new me,” by the time February rolls around, you’ve already completely forgotten about the days marked “gym time” in your Google Calendar. But hey, it’s never too late, right? In keeping with recent health trends, we tried a juice cleanse to wind back the clock and give our bodies a fresh start for the new year.
Before we subjected ourselves to drinking our calories, we did some research to make sure no fainting would ensue. Here are some things to keep in mind when juicing:
Give your body some R&R
The whole point of a cleanse is to hit restart on your body and cleanse all the toxins out for a fresh start. It is a transition period where you can put your body on pause to detox and replenish nutrients. This is a time of healing for the body, and strenuous exercise and high activity is ill advised. Postpone those Crossfit classes and opt instead for light jogging, yoga or meditation.
Veggies over fruit
Do not assume all juices are made equal. Yes, fruit is one hundred percent healthy, but most of the nutrition lies in the skin and fibers. Juicing fruit extracts all the vitamins and minerals, but it also does away with the fibers that are essential in the digestion process. As a result, most juices are packed with fructose; and even though the fructose contains vitamins and antioxidants, it is still sugar.
So make sure you read the labels and ingredients, or call a juice company and ask what is going into their juices. You don’t want to be paying RMB30-40 on a juice that has four apples and two sprigs of spinach.
Cold-pressed is the way to go
Cold-pressed refers to the process of using large amounts of pressure to extract the juice out of fruits and vegetables to preserve all of the vitamins and minerals, ensuring the highest density of nutrients in the extracted juice. Cold-pressed is especially important because as soon as heat comes into play, the concentration of vitamins and nutrients decreases.
Cleansing is not suggested for kids or pregnant women
Pure liquid cleansing is not advised for pregnant women since this is a pivotal time for the body to receive an adequate amount of calories. As for children, there’s no reason to say no, but you absolutely do not want to be restricting your child’s calorie intake. Raw juices and raw smoothies could also be potentially dangerous for kids, especially if the produce was not washed properly.
Ultimately, adding juices and smoothies is a great way to supplement your diet with nutrients, but the goal should not be weight loss or calorie restriction.
Luckily, there are great, reputable juice companies in Shanghai. If you want to get healthy and get juicing for 2016 (or anytime really), here are our picks.
Lizzy’s All Natural
Lizzy’s All Natural is great for anyone who’s new to juicing and looking to kick bad eating habits. What sets Lizzy’s apart from other juice companies is that instead of pure liquids, they offer superfood blends. In other words, smoothies.
Unlike juices, which strip the fiber from whole fruits and vegetables, nothing is removed in a smoothie, thereby helping you maintain more consistent blood sugar levels. Plus, smoothies are more substantial than juices, which makes it easier to cleanse without feeling like you’ll pass out.
All the produce that goes into Lizzy’s smoothies are not only organic, but also washed with a triple filtration system. Even more impressive is how tasty the smoothies are. Our favorites are the Kale and Avocado and Dr. Green, which despite the green color, do not taste like chewing a wad of grass.
V Cleanse takes a gourmet approach to juicing, using ingredients such as bitter melon, dandelion, hibiscus, lotus and lemongrass. Though their juices are pricier in comparison, we love the gastronomy meets medicine approach to every V Cleanse bottle. Each bottle is like a slim potion of health.
We tried the Warming Cleanse – a wonderful option for Shanghai’s barely bearable winter – which is composed of warm and savory raw soups mixed with nut milks and juices. The soups, which are supposed to be warmed before consumption, feel a bit heartier than the average kale juice.
They’re also really tasty, especially the pumpkin soup, which tasted more like a warm gourmet appetizer than a blend of raw vegetables. The “Purple Broth,” mostly made of cabbage, which is great for your lungs, is a dark purple liquid that’s actually fun to drink. You could definitely get away with tricking your kid into thinking it’s Kool-Aid.
>V Cleanse (www.vcleanse.com)
Farmhouse Juice is a great option for those with the willpower to perform a full-on cleanse. Their juices come in 16.9 fluid ounce bottles packed with vitamins, nutrients and flavor, which make not chewing for a day surprisingly doable.
While some juices, like the Green Elixir, are on the earthier side, others are unexpectedly delicious. The Spicy Lemonade has just a kick of cayenne to spike the digestive system, and the ginger-packed Beet It is zingy and tasty, making us feel awake and invigorated.
For anyone who’s not exactly excited about adopting the diet of a rabbit for a few days, FS Juice is our pick. In fact, FS Juice does not encourage customers to stop eating, but rather advises you supplement a healthy lifestyle with their cold-pressed juices and snacks such as chia seeds and energy balls.
FS Juice has an in-house nutritionist, Jacqueline Zhan Fraise, who develops every recipe and juice pack based on TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) and Western nutrition. One of our favorite FS Juices is the Slimmer, a tall, dark and handsome blend of cucumber, kale, parsley, apple and lemon. Another favorite is the Zen, which is a tasty blend of matcha and nut milks that makes for the perfect breakfast beverage.
As for their juice programs, we tried the Nourishing Detox Pack, which is a two-day pack that comes with a bottle of “Restore,” “Clarity,” “Zen,” “Glow” and chia seeds. As an entry-level juicer, this pack is perfect because it comes with instructions on what to eat on top of the juices.
>FS Juice (www.fsjuice.com)
At the end of the cleanse, we felt like our body had been fortified with enough vitamins, antioxidants, detoxifiers, etc. to last us until 2016.
We have the tendency to be overly ambitious with our health goals, often subjecting ourselves to objectives that are impossible to obtain. We did not shed five pounds after a day of cleansing, but we did become more aware of our bodies and what should go in them for optimal health. The goal of adding juices to your diet should be a healthier lifestyle and not weight loss. Small attainable goals are key to maintaining whatever health resolutions you set for yourself. Happy juicing!